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Species: Crematogaster mahery   Blaimer, 2010 

Classification:
Download Data

Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2018)

Crematogaster mahery Blaimer, 2010 PDF: 22, figs. 35, 41 (w.) MADAGASCAR. Malagasy. Primary type information: Madagascar, R.S. Manombo, -23.01580, 47.71900, 30m, ex dead twig above ground, littoral rainforest, 21-22.iv.2006, coll. B.L.Fisher et al., BLF14050; CASENT0071537; CASC. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Distribution:

  Geographic regions (According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists):
    Africa: Madagascar
  Biogeographic regions (According to curated Bioregion/Taxon lists):
    Malagasy

Distribution Notes:

MADAGASCAR

At the moment C. mahery is known only from four localities in Madagascar. Three localities (P.N. Zahamena, Andringitra and Andohahela) harbour mid-elevation to montane rainforest habitats, the fourth (R.S. Manombo) is home to a rare patch of littoral forest on the east coast. These forests are situated roughly between 250 km and 450 km away from each other along a trajectory of 700 km across the island. It is an intriguing question how this disjunct distribution came about, since it appears that similar potential habitat exists between those localities. A further striking contrast is the species distribution in mountainous regions at higher elevations on the one hand, and in the littoral forest at sea level on the other hand. This is the sole Decacrema species recorded from the littoral forest of the R.S. Manombo.

Biology:

Collections of Crematogaster mahery mostly comprise workers from beating samples and pitfall and malaise traps, and queens or males of C. mahery have not yet been collected. At R.S. Manombo, Fisher et al. collected workers nesting in dead twigs and branches and in rotten logs. In the Andringitra massif, I was fortunate to find a single colony of these ants nesting in three separate carton nests in a small, solitary tree in an open, riverine habitat. Dissection of the nests yielded only workers and brood, but no queen. This colony housed pseudococcids of an undescribed species of the genus Tylococcus (P.J. Gullan, pers. comm.), feeding inside the carton structure on the main branch around which the nest was constructed.

Identification:

  • antennae 10-segmented
  • head and promesonotal sculpture aciculate
  • mesonotum postero-laterally distinctly angular to tuberculate
  • mesonotum raised with respect to pronotum and medially at least slightly tuberculate
  • promesonotal suture usually complete
  • large to very large species (HW 1.09-1.21, WL 1.18-1.32)
  • propodeal spines medium-large sized, usually with SPI > 0.20
  • uncommon

Comments:

This species is closely related to the Crematogaster hova-complex and Crematogaster sabatra and is hardly separable from the former in the field. It may further be confused with both even under the microscope. Workers of the C. hova-complex reaching the body size of C. mahery usually possess a costulate or areolate head sculpture, not strictly aciculate as in C. mahery. Furthermore, although in size and other characters very similar to C. sabatra, there is only opportunity for confusion of the two at one locality, P.N. Andringitra. Here the two species can be separated by head sculpture: at this locality C. sabatra exhibits a reticulate sculpture pattern that can easily be distinguished from the aciculate head sculpture of C. mahery.

Taxonomic Notes:

Blaimer, B. B. (2010) Taxonomy and Natural History of the Crematogaster (Decacrema) group in Madagascar. Zootaxa, 2714, 1-39.

References:

Blaimer, B. B. (2010) Taxonomy and Natural History of the Crematogaster (Decacrema) group in Madagascar. Zootaxa, 2714, 1-39.

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 11 times found in rainforest, 3 times found in montane rainforest, 1 times found in riparian rainforest edge.

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 5 times on low vegetation, 1 times ex carton nest, 3 nests, 2 times sifted litter (leaf mold, rotten wood), 1 times ex dead branch above ground, 1 times ground forager(s), 1 times ex rotten log, 1 times ex dead twig above ground, 1 times forager on log.

Collected most commonly using these methods: 1 times MW 50 sample transect, 5m, 1 times hand picked out of litter, 1 times Malaise trap, 1 times pitfall trap, PF 50 tube sample transect, 5m.

Elevations: collected from 30 - 1250 meters, 604 meters average

Type specimens: Holotype of Crematogaster mahery: casent0071537



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